Wednesday, July 13, 2011

July 13, 2011

Hello all, I have once again survived the much maligned american health care system, and would like to report that they did an outstanding job of caring for me. Actually, I don’t think that it is a question of “quality of care”, but who pays for the care that is at issue. I had a 3 ½ hour surgery to remove the hernia repair mesh that was installed in Sept. Of 2010. Apparently the surgery was uneventful, and the mesh was removed.

This s procedure was not done by my cancer surgeon, but by another surgeon on his team. I am guessing that this is covered by the “medical acts” by “others” clause in the paperwork. I really don’t have any problem with this as this was fairly routine, and to have the specialists do this, would be a misuse of talent. I did know this other Dr, and had a lot of confidence in him.

Maybe because of personal choice, or perhaps some compelling medical reason, but instead of hidden, disappearing stitches, I now have 35 stainless steel staples holding me together. It should make for an interesting, frankensteinening type scar. I also have 2 drain tubes attached to 2 grenade looking reservoirs. I hope to have the staples and drains removed next Wed. at my follow up dr. appointment.

My body had a severe adverse reaction to the mesh, had built a “orange peel” like shell around it, and had continued to flood the area with fluid. The new information discovered is, that my body wall beneath the mesh had never healed, and there was still a large hernia present.

The surgeon closed the hernia by stitching my abdominal muscles (body wall) together with material that will not dissolve, but will remain in place. The hope is that things will heal, and I will remain hernia free.

That was the good news.... the bad news is... I was admonished by the doctors to not lift anything over 5 pounds for the next 6-8 weeks, and never, ever again lift anything heavy. (For those that are metrically challenged... a gallon of milk weighs 8 pounds, and bowling is out of the question) He suggested a “weight lifters” belt might be of some benefit.

The connection between my abdominal muscles is very fragile, and will never improve. I asked about my options if I were to lift too much and cause another hernia.... and the Doc said..... DO NOT DO THAT, THERE ARE NO GOOD OPTIONS.

I am trying to adjust to the reality of being an invalid that doesn’t look like an invalid. How do I present myself to the world, looking healthy, and still asking others to carry my groceries. My friend Carl, suggested that, to make the picture make sense, that I put a 2 inch lift in one shoe, get a cane, and walk with a limp.....

I am not happy with my “new normal” but am still happy to be alive, and would make the same decisions again if given the chance. At least for now, I am trying to go with the “glass is half full” approach.

Once again, I am thankful and humbled by the response of my family and friends. I am particularly indebted to Karen, who did all of the necessary, un-fun things required to get me through this event.